In order to be a successful business owner these days, you have to be an expert in cutting costs and sticking to rigid budgets.
It’s easy to think that making major changes such as cutting back on new equipment or downsizing employees is the best way to save some cash.
However, there are some smaller things that you can do in order to save money.
Use these tips to slash extraneous costs and exercise smart spending – you’ll be sure to end up with more money in your pocket.
Be Internet Savvy
Upgrade your paper receipts, customer records and scheduling by using online sources.
Switching over to online forms will cut the cost of having these forms printed out; up to 75 cents per form. Multiply that by the hundreds, or even thousands, of forms your business uses each year and you could be saving big bucks. Additionally, send your invoices via email to cut down on paper and postage.
There are a couple free invoicing sites online that allow you to invoice unlimited clients, access templates, email your client’s invoices, and accept and record payments. (See www.myonlinetoolbox.com for more information.) Scheduling can also be done online using something as simple as Google Calendar.
Making this calendar accessible to everyone in the company is a great way to keep everyone on the same page in terms of client information and company meetings and events. By researching online resources and moving whatever you can to the online world, you’ll save money and the frustration of dealing with paper forms.
Manage Your Cash Flow
By closely monitoring where your money is, you’ll have a better idea of how to manage it. Keep close track of invoices that are paid, pending and need to be sent out. Try cutting your time frame for customers to pay for services from 30 days to 15 days to keep a better grip on what is pending.
Complete and send out invoices as soon as possible– the sooner customers have the bill, the sooner they will pay. Be aware of the due dates on your own bills as well. Often times, you can change the day of the month when your bill is due to ensure you have money in the bank and avoid late fees.
You can also call your credit card company and discuss a lower interest rate with your bank. Creditors would rather see continued payments than nothing at all, so they may be willing to work with you to decrease your monthly payments if you are upfront about your ability to pay.
Make the Most of Your Office Space
Make the most of what you have – give your office space small revamps instead of taking on costly renovations. If you find you are having problems making rent payments for a leased office space, talk to the landlord of the space to renegotiate a lower rent. A landlord may be more willing to lower the rent than risk losing you as a renter, especially when vacancies are high.
You could also try renting out a space with a couple of other local businesses in your area to cut down rent costs. A big space that has private offices is a great way to stretch your dollar, and also share utilities such as electricity and phone and Internet service.
Also, keep an eye on employee utility usage. Make it a policy that machinery gets switched off during lunch breaks and after work hours.
Cut Back Your Telephone Bill
Every business needs a phone, so being smart about what service you use and how much they are charging is an essential part of managing your business costs. The plan you initially started using for your business may not still be the most cost effective, so look closely at what your bill is and your services.
Cut out any additional features that may not be necessary, such as call forwarding, long distance, or a toll free number if you can get by with just the basics. Also, ask about promotions that your provider may be offering. If you give your employees cell phones, make sure that they are not exceeding the limits of services that your plan charges extra for such as text messaging, internet usage, and minutes.
Get Creative with Your Marketing
Getting your business name in front of potential customers can be a costly endeavor. Start by looking up websites where you can advertise your business for free. If you are going to pay for advertising, do your research to make sure you’ll be getting a good service for your money.
Listing on local sites that connect you directly with potential customers is often a far better option for advertising than costly Pay-Per-Click campaigns or sites that promise to get you ranked on Google. From there, reach out to customers by using creative marketing to set you apart from your competition. Have your technicians give customers a pen with your company name on it after finishing a job, advertise on placemats and message boards at local restaurants.
You can also write for blogs that customers might be searching (such as DIY tip blogs) and link back to your website, or make a Facebook page and get all of your customers to become a “Fan” of your business. A little imagination can go a long way in advertising your company while also saving you money.
It may seem as though you’ve tried everything you can to cut costs around your shop, but take a closer look using these money-saving suggestions and you may find that you can cut even more costs. By making small, money-saving changes to the way you run your business, you could end up saving hundreds of dollars a year on big things like rent, bills and advertising costs.